They're smart, confident, talented, and what's more, they probably know it. They're Campaign's Faces to Watch for 2003 and, if their bosses are smart, they'll fight tooth and nail to hang on to them.
They bring energy and fresh thinking to the offices of adland, and they're rapidly climbing a career ladder that may one day lead them to a salary of Garry Lace proportions.
However, all that must wait, for the industry may pay its top brass handsomely, but it does not reward its young stars quite so well. As such, it faces the prospect of losing young talent to law firms or accountancy practices who will lure promising graduates by offering them a starting salary that will enable them to pay off their mounting student debts.
To counter this, organisations such as the IPA are talking up the industry in an attempt to persuade the newly qualified that this is a sector worth making sacrifices for. However, the problem is complicated by the fact that at present, the demand for advertising jobs greatly exceeds the supply.
Hamish Pringle, the director-general of the IPA, explains: "The general picture is incredibly competitive. The Government's policy of getting more people to enter higher education has meant that more people are doing just that. The number of people taking media courses is huge, but the number of advertising jobs available to them is tiny. We need to help manage expectations, and a big part of this involves getting careers advisors to understand how few jobs there are."
While it's clear that the industry needs to be selective, how can agencies be sure that they're not missing out on the right people?
"Agencies might be getting thousands of applications for half a dozen jobs, but they do put a huge amount of effort into their selection processes," Pringle says.
"Yet for all the people who are still entering the industry through the front door, via graduate programmes and university courses, there are still those who take a different, less obvious route, via the postroom or reception. This mix is healthy for the industry."
So here are Campaign's tips for the top. And if your name is on this list, you've already achieved a minor miracle to get where you are. Apparently, there are thousands out there who'd give everything to be in your position.
LUKE THOWNSEND, 23 - CLEAR CHANNEL
At 23, Thownsend is one of those unnervingly confident young salesmen who instantly impress. Since graduating from King's College, London with a degree in history, Thownsend has worked at Clear Channel Outdoor for the past three years, dealing with the likes of Universal McCann, Initiative and Walker Media. Blessed with abundant enthusiasm, his strengths lie in his ability to understand deals from the perspective of each party involved.
SAM FINLAY, 30 - IPC
As a senior sales executive for IPC tx, Finlay is the media rep for titles such as TV Times and What's on TV. As part of his job, Finlay deals with media agencies such as MediaCom, Manning Gottlieb OMD, PHD and OMD - and don't they just love him! In fact the folks at MediaCom were so impressed with Finlay last year that they gave him an Outstanding Rep Award as a tribute to his competence and helpful attitude. In the eight years he's been with IPC, Finlay has earned the respect of many a media agency by demonstrating a great understanding of the marketplace and a willingness and ability to follow up on his initiatives.
BONNIE HORTON, 25; CHARLOTTE HORTON, 25 - AMV BBDO
The talented twins graduated from Camberwell College of Art three years ago and almost immediately landed their first gig at Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper. As well as putting in the hours on various pitches, copywriter Charlotte and art director Bonnie turned in some pretty good creative work too. In September, the Hortons were snapped up by Peter Souter and are now working on accounts such as Pepsi and The Economist. At the time of their departure, Euro RSCG's chairman, Mark Wnek, said: "I am speechless with sadness at losing the most brilliant and dedicated young creatives I have ever come across in my career." They obviously made quite an impression.
STEVE PARKER, 29 - STARCOM MOTIVE
As the head of outdoor, radio, cinema and internet at Starcom, Parker is a young man with an array of responsibilities that belie his age. His role as an implementational planner is to put into action a client's buying strategy and buy outdoor space direct from the media owner. "He takes on any challenge," Starcom's executive UK buying director, Andy Roberts, says. "He's a lateral thinker who's great with people."
MIKE MCCOY, 25 - BBJ COMMUNICATIONS
McCoy's position as communications executive is his first in advertising, but BBJ has already spotted his potential. This year, the agency is to expand his role beyond TV buying, into radio and cinema as well. Not a bad achievement for someone who was studying sports and geography just two years ago. "Mike goes that extra mile," BBJ's buying director, Matt Platts, says. "He transcends the boundaries of his core job function. His work is consistent and of a very high standard and his knowledge of the business is broader than you would expect at this level."
ANTONY NELSON, 27; MIKE SUTHERLAND, 26 - SAATCHI & SAATCHI
Four years ago, art director Nelson and copywriter Sutherland were studying advertising in glamorous Doncaster. Now they're the toast of Cannes, having won the Grand Prix for their Club 18-30 work and contributed to Dave Droga's promotion prospects in the process. Their NSPCC posters appeared in last year's D&AD annual and they're responsible for Carling's excellent "football agent" ad.
TAMSIN DAVIES, 27 - FALLON
Davies got her break in advertising as a graduate at AMV and joined Fallon a year ago. She has planned the United Airlines and Green & Blacks campaigns. Fallon's head of planning, Laurence Green, says: "Tamsin is lots of exciting things, like original, creative and quirky but she's lots of important boring things too, like decent, industrious and a good team player." Davies is respected throughout her department for her slightly eccentric way of approaching problems. She's currently working on a digital radio project for the BBC.
LAURENCE PARKS, 30 - BMP DDB
It's not just Parks' ability to turn in award-winning IPA Effectiveness papers which makes him a star for the future, according to BMP's joint head of planning, Lucy Jameson. As well as winning a silver with a paper on Marmite at last year's awards, Parks has buckets of personality, which makes him a hit with colleagues and clients alike. "He's a sweet and lovely bloke, with an irrepressible optimism," Jameson says. She snapped the account planner up from AMV in 2000, where he began as a graduate trainee, and has him tipped for a glittering future.
CHRYS PHILALITHES, 29 - ESPOTTING
Philalithes is a founding member and the current marketing director of the pay-per-click search operator Espotting, which now has more than 140 staff across nine European territories. Before that, she was the new-business manager at WCRS - part of the team that helped the agency grow its 1999 billings by 40 per cent. "Chrys has a dynamic, innovative and creative approach to marketing," Seb Bishop, Espotting's director and co-founder, says. "She's also fiercely intelligent." This is no idle claim - Philalithes holds an MBA from Imperial College, graduating in the top 5 per cent of her class, despite being one of the youngest in her year.
EMILY SHEPHARD, 27 - CRAIK JONES WATSON MITCHELL VOELKEL
Shephard has proved to be something of a renaissance woman at Craik Jones since she joined six-and-a-half years ago. She started working in the agency's finance department, then moved to production before finally finding her niche in account management, working for clients such as BT and RBS. These days, she's the account director on the Orange and ATOC accounts - the latter won the Grand Prix at the Royal Mail DMA Awards in December.
CAROL BECKWITH, 30 - TURNER BROADCASTING
If you're looking for young TV sales people in the front line, then a company such as Turner isn't a bad place to start. It would seem that Beckwith, who works in the sponsorship and promotions department, is the pick of Turner's current crop of talented youngsters. "She has a very well rounded grasp of creativity and sales," Simon Cox, Turner's vice- president, ad sales UK, says. "She can deal well with either clients or agencies and understands the wider picture."
FEARGAL BALLANCE, 30; DYLAN HARRISON, 29 - BMP DDB
Copywriter Harrison's story will inspire all those budding creatives who lack the necessary qualifications or experience to get agency work. Displaying true cheek and determination, the former PR man earned his first job in advertising after pretending to be an experienced copywriter. In no time at all he was teamed up with art director Ballance (pictured), who had been working for the Australian outfit CKMP. Two years later and the pair are still at BMP. Despite their lack of experience they were entrusted with the Volkswagen account and produced a TV campaign last year that was a highlight of BMP's mildly disappointing reel. They also won a silver at the Campaign Press Awards for their work for The Guardian.
ESTHER HJELLUM, 24; JOHN ROBB, 25 - HHCL & PARTNERS
Even though the creatives Hjellum and Robb both went to Buckinghamshire and Chiltern University College, they were not in the same school year and it was by pure coincidence that they were placed together as a creative team at Bartle Bogle Hegarty. During their four- month stint at the agency they produced a campaign for Barnardo's. There then followed a brief spell at BMP before an opportunity at HHCL arose. Since joining three months ago, they've worked on accounts such as The Science Museum, Robinson's and Ambrosia. "I'd had my eye on them for a while," the HHCL creative director, Al Young, says. "They've got an awesome book."
GAVIN MAY, 28 - Naked
After the year Naked's had it would seem almost churlish not to include a Naked strategist, but May is in the list on merit. A graduate in advertising management from Bournemouth University, May spent three-and-a-half years at Universal McCann as a planning manager for clients such as H&M. He joined Naked last autumn where he has been entrusted with the Campbell's portfolio and NFL account.
SARAH BULLER, 24; KERRY BELL, 26 - MCCANN RELATIONSHIP MARKETING
Now in their fifth year as a creative team, art director Buller and copywriter Bell contributed heavily to what was a great 2002 creatively for Harrison Troughton Wunderman. The pair achieved the near impossible by producing Cannes silver Lion and DMA gold award-winning work for as unfashionable a client as Xerox. They joined McCann Relationship Marketing at the start of 2003 and will be working on accounts such as L'Oreal and MSN.